China and India abstained on Wednesday from a UN General Assembly vote that demanded an immediate halt to Moscow’s attack on Ukraine and the withdrawal of all Russian troops.
The resolution, at an emergency session, passed 141-5, with 35 abstentions.
“The message of the General Assembly is loud and clear: end hostilities in Ukraine — now; silence the guns — now; open the door to dialogue and diplomacy — now,” UN secretary-general António Guterres said in a statement after the vote.
But Zhang Jun, China’s representative to the UN, denounced the resolution’s “Cold War mentality based on bloc confrontation” – a reference to Nato – and calling for “properly addressing the legitimate security concerns of all parties, including Russia”.
Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam also abstained. North Korea voted no.
TS Tirumurti, India’s UN representative, said in a statement explaining its abstention: “We remain firm in our conviction that differences can only be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy.”
Belarus, Syria, and Eritrea joined Russia and North Korea in opposing the measure. Bassam Sabbagh, Damascus’s UN envoy, criticised the resolution.
“The presentation of the draft resolution today is accompanied by massive misinformation, campaigns to distort facts … which is not designed to search for a real solution to the crisis, but rather to demonise the Russian Federation,” he said before voting no.
- George Russell